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Asian shares were mixed on Monday as investors awaited key U.S. inflation readings for guidance on monetary policy, while Bitcoin tried to steady after being hammered on news of China’s clampdown on mining and trading of cryptocurrencies.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.1% in slow trade. Japan’s Nikkei added 0.2% and Chinese blue chips 0.2%.
Nasdaq futures rose 0.1% and S&P 500 futures firmed 0.3%. EUROSTOXX 50 futures and FTSE futures added 0.2%.
After surveys of the global service sectors out on Friday showed spectacular growth, all eyes will be on U.S. personal consumption and inflation figures this week.
A high reading for the core inflation figures would ring alarms and could revive talk of an early tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
The diary has a crowd of Fed speakers this week, including the influential Fed Board Governor Lael Brainard, and markets will be keen to hear if they stick to the script on being patient with policy.
Oil was up Monday morning in Asia, with investor sentiment boosted by signs of the U.S.’ continuing economic recovery from COVID-19 and the improved outlook for fuel demand. Investors are also monitoring the progress of talks to revive a 2015 Iranian nuclear deal that is likely to increase global crude supply.
Brent oil futures gained 0.63% to $66.77 by 1:13 AM ET (5:13 AM GMT), with the contract rolling over to the Aug. 21 contract on May 23. WTI futures were up 0.63% to $63.98.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during the previous week that the U.S. was “ready” to lift sanctions on the country’s oil, banking and shipping sectors, causing oil prices to fall.
“Iran’s oil production has been rising in recent months, likely in anticipation of a lifting of the sanctions,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
However, Iranian speaker of parliament Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said on Sunday that the expiry of the three-month monitoring deal between Iran and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency would cease the latter’s access to images from inside some Iranian nuclear sites. Talks between the two sides continue in Vienna throughout the week.
The dollar edged down in early European trade Monday, trading near three-month lows as confidence that the Federal Reserve was set to start tapering its bond-buying program in the near future ebbs away.
At 2:55 AM ET (0755 GMT), the Dollar Index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six other currencies, was down 0.1% at 89.975, marginally above a three-month low of 89.646 set on Friday.
EUR/USD traded 0.1% higher at 1.2184, off a three-month high of 1.2245 touched on Wednesday, USD/JPY was 0.1% lower at 108.81, GBP/USD rose 0.1% to 1.4154, while the risk-sensitive AUD/USD was up 0.1% at 0.7737.
The greenback received a boost early last week after minutes from the meeting of the April Federal Reserve policy-setting meeting indicated that a number of policymakers wanted to discuss tapering bond purchase on worries that the considerable stimulus already pouring into an economy on the mend could stoke inflation.
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